The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Drones Are a Weapon of the Weak, #2

So, I imagine how everyone heard how drones shut down Gatwick airport, and the police and military were helpless?

Then there is this nice thread from someone who fought ISIS in Iraq. His end conclusion is that trying to shoot down drones is hopeless, you have to find the drone operator and shoot them.

Though I could be wrong, it looks like right now the only technology which really works, is jamming. The problem is that wide-spectrum jamming shuts down more than just the drones. And jamming won’t work against autonomous drones.

Drones are too small and hard for humans to hit reliably. Real attacks involve swarms of fast moving drones.

And drones are cheap. I wrote back in 2012 that drones would be weapons of the weak, and in 2013 discussed how technology was changing the balance of power between weak and strong in war.

This trend continues. Governments may force drone registration and so on, but they are an easy, cheap tech to make with off-the-shelf parts. Currently, they can’t be stopped easily by conventional militaries, and it will be impossible to harden all targets against them in the perceivable future. They will make both terror attacks and assassinations quite simple.

I always thought the US was foolish for developing this technology. They made it happen much faster than it would have otherwise, and while initially it was (and still is) useful to them, in the end it will be a technology that terrorizes them and other powerful governments.

Combined with IEDs, drones make for a very potent insurgency/rebellion/area denial technology. The only real counter to them right now is indirect: Totalitarian surveillance states with the power to track the makers and users. Fear of this sort of thing is, in fact, part of what is driving the rise of surveillance states.

Especially, for the smarter leaders, the realization that drone assassinations are eventually going to be almost impossible to stop.

I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing in the long run. Scared leaders and militaries which aren’t invincible are a good thing. But there can be a lot of pain on the way to leaders learning that they can’t just ignore their followers without violent consequences, and a lot of that pain will hit ordinary people.

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  1. Tom

    Was just gonna say, the Houthis almost took out the Yemeni Army High Command while they attended a Parade. Their drone blew up too short of the target.

    As for shooting down microdrones, Russians use 23mm cannons on the Pantsir and flak bursts. Mostly it prefers jamming though as once the drones crash, they shut the jamming off and then trace the signal back and bomb the site.

    Iraqis tried small arms which is of course ineffective for those size drones due to ballistics and the Iraqis poor marksmanship habits don’t help either.

  2. Drones, however, are not protected by the second amendment. That will be their downfall.

  3. Willy

    “Freedom and liberty” has its limits. This is just the tip of the technological iceberg that’s about to hit. We should’ve developed saner smarter wiser government the masses can trust, by now. In a better world “Monkey Brains for Dummies” would be required reading for school children. Gee, I wonder who’s preventing the spread of such into the common wisdom.

  4. Chuck Mire

    Scott Adams (familiar to most as the author of of the Dilbert comics) wrote two novels. The first one was titled “God’s Debris: A Thought Experiment” and the sequel was titled “The Religion War”.

    In the sequel (written in 2004), he predicted a war between Christians and Muslims where the Muslims used drones.

  5. different clue

    The problem with thinking that assassin-drones can scare and impress office-holders and governators is that governators and especially deep-state governators and also multi-billionaire private governators with their own private armies like Blackwater-Xe-Akademi-whatever they call it next . . . can make and send very sophisticated little assassin drones to assassinate all conceivable
    leadership to all conceivable resistance or opposition or etc. movements.

  6. Thomas Golladay

    @different clue

    Assassinations don’t win wars. Competent Organizations have a deep well of leaders who can rise to the occasion due to Darwinian Selection excel where their predecessor failed.

  7. boobybird

    Drone warfare, particularly at the low end, is virtually the antithesis of a technology well suited for anti-access / area denial.

  8. chum'sfriend

    I assume most everybody has seen this video but I’ll provide a link for reference. Slaughter-bots;

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